Shattering Forever Young And Other Boomer Myths

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Boomers see themselves as “forever young,” so it can be difficult to get them to see the need for long term care insurance, says Dick Ross, principal, 50-Plus Communications Consulting, Glencoe, Ill.

“Its a huge psychological obstacle,” he says. “If you dont believe youll ever get old and feeble, why would you need LTC insurance?”

Sharil Baxter, Kansas City sales manager and national education officer for LTCI Partners, LLC., Overland Park, Kansas, says human nature and ignorance are the biggest obstacles to getting boomers to see the need for LTC insurance.

Human nature because “people dont want to think its going to happen to them,” she says. Ignorance because, “unless theyve had a family member needing services, they may not know what the expenses are. They believe the myth that Medicare pays for it. I think the population as a whole believes that.”

Tony Dillard, a marketing representative in the Bedford, Texas, office of American Independent Marketing, Yakima, Wash., says he trains agents to incorporate these objections into the presentation before the client can make them and to explain why they are not always reasonable.

Medicare, Medicaid and “my family will pay,” are the main objections he anticipates from boomers. These objections then lead to the “I think we should wait” comment, which is only uttered when an agent hasnt made a convincing presentation, he says.

If the clients want to wait, an agent should show them what the projected rates will be if they do.

“Show them the cost of waiting,” he says. An agent can do this by using graphs that illustrate how much a policy would cost for a 50- and 60-year-old. Although, most likely, the 60-year-old will be paying for a shorter period, she will actually pay more in premium than the younger client.

Regarding family, an agent can explain that its not always wise to count on them. Not only because one never knows whether such an arrangement will work out in the long run, but also because families often move far away from one another and it simply wouldnt be practical.

Dillard stresses that responses to objections should be presented, “in a nice way.”

Ross agrees and suggests linking a clients potential future experience with LTC with that of their parents.

An agent can say, “Youre a boomer and youre going to be young a long time, but do you remember when your mother was 83? As hard as it is to believe, at some point, youll probably not be as healthy as you are today and you need to think about preparing for that day. You really have to connect it to what they already know about older people so they can see it.”

Baxter says another way an agent can “bring the concept home is by explaining that the chances of needing LTC exceed the chances of your house burning down and totaling your car.

“Those risks are less likely to occur than LTC risks, and the financial ramifications exceed the other risks, so in terms of risk management, liken it to house-burning and car-totaling, which we so willingly pay for without question,” he says.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, September 19, 2003. Copyright 2003 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.